During the Japanese occupation of Manchuria in the late 30s, there were numerous border skirmishes with Russian troops, and one result was the Russian capture of a number of Japanese Type 11 machine guns. Those guns had an interesting hopped-feed system that used ordinary 5-round rifle clips in a stack (30 rounds total). The idea was to allow full ammunition commonality between riflemen and machine gunners, which seems reasonable enough.
The Type 11, however, suffered from problematic side effects. The hopper system made the gun more susceptible to entrance of dirt, and proved difficult to load load quickly on the move. The gun proved unreliable with standard Japanese rifle ammunition, and a reduced-power load had to be used instead, largely nullifying the ammo compatibility. However, these problems would not necessarily have been obvious to Russian personnel capturing the guns, and the system got the attention of Russian ordnance officers – the Russian DP-28 light machine gun of the time used rather bulky pan magazines.
So, an experimental variant of the DP-28 was made using the Type 11’s hopper feed system. It failed to impress during trials, but certainly makes for an interesting and unique piece today. For the full scoop on why it didn’t make it past early testing, have a look at the Kubynov hopper-fed DP28 page in the Vault, where we have the rest of the story and several more photos.
These pictures were generously provided by Max Popenker – you can find his excellent weapons encyclopedia online at World Guns. Thanks, Max!